University of Edinburgh

Independence through Habilitation

Presented on Friday 27 January 2012

Possible Intervention Strategies

Janis Sugden, Scottish Sensory Centre


In recognition of the distinct needs of children as they move towards independence and the acquisition of new skills.
"Quality Standards: Delivery of Habilitation Training (Mobility and Independent Living Skills) for children and Young People with Visual Impairment" January 2011

Health and Wellbeing; the responsibility of practitioners

  • Good health and wellbeing is central to effective learning and preparation for successful independent living.
  • This aspiration for every child and young person can only be met through a concerted approach by everyone involved with the child.

What are practitioners' roles and responsibilities for health and wellbeing?

CYP should feel happy, safe, respected and included in the school environment and all staff should be proactive in promoting positive behaviour in the classroom, playground and the wider school community.

Everyone within each learning community shares the responsibility for creating a positive ethos and climate of respect and trust…
Curriculum for Excellence


Pupils with additional support needs have the same rights to access the same curriculum as their peers. This could mean;

  • Improving the physical environment
  • Adapting handouts, introducing assistive technology
  • Extra-curricular activities and support to allow them to do these as independently as possible.

How do we achieve this?

Effective Partnership Working:

  • Engages the active support of parents and carers
  • Reinforces work across transitions and planning across sectors
  • Maximises the contributions of the wider community
  • Draws upon specialist expertise

Health and Wellbeing; factors that need to be considered

Children's capacities to learn are shaped by their background and home circumstances as well as by their individual development.

Progression and development in many aspects of the development of independence and habilitation will depend upon the stage, development and maturity of the CYP.

Habilitation: working in the home

Acknowledge that the main support in the home is usually provided by parents


The importance of Early Intervention, if required cannot be stressed enough!

Notes: The importance of specialist medical and educational intervention being provided as early as possible is now universally accepted.

The same principles apply to the provision of habilitation.

Starting a habilitation programme early in life will enable good practice to become establishes from the oputset and avoid the development of bad habits of practice which would need to be modified at a later stage.

Supporting Early Intervention

A team approach:

  • Involvement from the QTVI and Qualified Habilitation Worker (QHW) should be available. (Degree depends upon the child's needs)
  • All work should be carried out in partnership with the parents.
  • All other agencies involved should be kept updated to provide a 'seamless service' for the child

Transition to School or nursery

Liaison with staff (SMT?)

An induction programme to include:

  • In-service training to inform staff of the children's additional support needs including the need for habilitation and independence training.
  • Any adaptations required to the environment/curriculum
  • Additional resources

At school

  • Assessment of the implications of the child’s visual impairment should be ongoing throughout their education.
  • As well as the CYP's educational needs such as access to the curriculum, the QTVI should consult with a QHW to regularly review mobility and independence skills.

Individual Education Plan

  • The QTVI and QHW should be invited to provide advice.
  • CYP is involved in decision making and in planning their own programme of habilitation.
  • Where appropriate the CYP is encouraged to travel independently in the home and home area in a way that complements training provided in school.

Further Education and work

Links are made at an early stage with specialist adult mobility services for VIPs and with career and work guidance services.


Independence and mobility skills must be routinely considered for CYP with visual impairments if they are to achieve: maximum degree of independent living, social inclusion, emotional well-being, including self confidence and self esteem. These factors reflect the 4 capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Mobility and Independence training (Habilitation) Applies to all stages of the CfE: Primary Levels: Early, First and Second Secondary Levels: Third&Fourth and senior phase.

It addresses all seven principles; progression, depth, relevance, breadth, personalisation and choice, challenge and enjoyment, coherence.


Aspects of Visual Impairment and Intervention Teaching &training resource developed by The Mobility 21 Project and DOS Team IOE University of London, RNIB , MISE.

Quality Standards: Delivery of Habilitation Training ( Mobility and Independent Living Skills) for Children with Visual Impairment , Dr Olga Miller, Dr Karl Wall IOE and Dr Malcolm Garner Former head of Sensory Services fpr Birmingham LA.

Curriculum for Excellence Resource Learning and Teaching Scotland